When it comes to deer hunting there is no perfect gun. There are just too many variables such as your size, style, preferences, hunting area, local hunting laws, budget, etc. But there are some basic principles and recommendations that can help you select the right firearm to get started. In this episode I give guidelines that can help you find the right gun, as well as a few sample recommendations.
The most important thing to keep in mind is once you get some experience, you will develop preferences and opinions about what your ideal firearm for deal hunting is. So do NOT spend a ton of money on your first gun, get something that will do the job and enable you to get some experience, then you will know what you like and you can make an informed decision.
- Go with a used or very inexpensive firearm to start. Next year you can probably sell it for close to what you paid and put that towards getting your ideal gun.
- Get something that has good ammo availability and reasonable pricing in your area.
- Make sure your gun is light enough to carry through the woods for a day.
- Once you find a potential gun, pull out your phone and do some research on that model while you are still in the store to see if you can identify its strengths, weaknesses, reliability, accuracy, and any safety recalls.
- Make sure you test the trigger before you buy. It is very important that you are satisfied with the trigger, nothing impacts accuracy more.
- I recommend getting a .308 rifle, a .30-30 rifle, or a 12 gauge shotgun to start with. A partial list of other good rifle calibers include the .30-06, .270, 7.62 x 54r, or the .243 if you are recoil sensitive.
- The .223 can be used for deer hunting, but it requires a more precise shot at closer range, so I do not recommend it for new deer hunters unless you already have one, are a smaller individual, or have an injury that makes recoil a concern.
- If you want a new firearm, look for seasonal sales and manufacturers rebates.
- Be sure to listen to Episode 6, The Worst Rifle For Deer Hunting.
Sample firearms mentioned in the episode: